One year to go full throttle on person identifiers


Though we are all known by names, those names are not unique, can change and get written in many different ways. However, in science it is important we know who people are. This helps us give credit, link data, reproduce experiments and evaluate evidence. For this reason representatives of museums, herbaria, researchers, publishers, data managers, software developers and librarians have been discussing the uses and types of person identifiers in collections. We started this work at a workshop held by MOBILISE in 2019 titled Authority Management of People Names ( and from this wrote a position paper on the importance of people for linking biodiversity data (Groom et al. 2020). One of the most important ways to identify people is by their ORCID (, but there are many others. MOBILISE members also organised a large pre-conference meeting at the international Biodiversity Next conference ( and also collaborated with the CETAF informatics and digitization working groups to create a demonstration pilot (Güntsch et al. 2021). Furthermore, MOBILISE members continue to work together under the banner of the Biodiversity Information Standards Task Group on People in Biodiversity Data.

MOBILISE is coming to an end, but COST provides a mechanism called a COST Innovators Grant (CIG) to build bridges between research and the market. It supports innovative products, services and social innovation. The CIG aims to enhance the pace and success of research breakthroughs and as such, offers ending Actions the possibility to create additional impact.

So, to take our ideas forward we decided to give it a shot and apply. Partners of the initiative will be CETAF, Meise Botanic Garden, the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum of Berlin, Museum of Natural History - Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, Gazy University, the Natural History Museum of Crete – University of Crete,  the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, the University of Navarra, the University of Coimbra, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the Instituto Superior de Agronomia of Lisbon.

We propose to use a COST Innovators Grant (CIG) to develop a business plan and take concrete community steps for a transformation of pilot implementations and recommendations into an internationally applied integration of person identifiers into the collections of museums and herbaria. This will be achieved through training events, workshops and seminars that will disseminate guidance and best practice developed from current projects, and that will also help us develop a business plan for how key components of the person identifier network can be supported. The CIG will comprise MOBILISE members who will roll out person identifiers in their own collections, but who will also collaborate to build the wider integrated network within European collections and beyond. Members will host and organize events, but also pilot and test different approaches.

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